Kanu ‘wants full pay-off to leave Pompey’

Kanu has 12 months left on his Pompey contract   Picture: Robin Jones
Kanu has 12 months left on his Pompey contract Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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KANU has refused to leave Pompey unless he is paid the full amount owed to him for the remainder of his 12-month contract.

That is the claim from Blues administrator Trevor Birch, who insists the veteran striker’s agent is demanding the total worth of Kanu’s deal for him to leave Fratton Park early, despite the club still fighting to stay alive.

The sum is believed to be in the region of £300,000 for a player whose current deal has already been lowered by a relegation clause.

That has dealt another blow to Birch’s efforts to drive down the club’s current £9.5m wage bill, which is crucial in finding a new owner.

Kanu, the scorer of Pompey’s FA Cup-winning goal in 2008, is among several players who the Blues are seeking to reach compromise agreements with.

Now aged 35, a back problem contributed to restricting his availability to just 12 matches this season.

Tal Ben Haim is another refusing to lower his sights following talks with Birch last week. That will cost Pompey close to £2m for him to leave this summer.

Both players accepted wage deferrals towards the end of the campaign along with their team-mates to alleviate the club’s financial problems.

Now more money needs to be saved as the administrators strive to slash the club wage bill in half ahead of life in League One.

And Birch is growing ever-frustrated with their stance.

He said: ‘The club is in the players’ hands.

‘On one hand, them agreeing to defer wages gave the club a lifeline – but at the same time they need to take big cuts in the long term to enable it to survive.

‘Draconian wage cuts and deferrals among the players is the only way the club can go forward. That is why it is in everybody’s interests we get compromises or they sign reductions on what they are playing for.

‘The ones we are having problems with are Kanu and Ben Haim. You cannot strike a deal with them.

‘Kanu’s agent wants the full amount and at the moment he is going nowhere.

‘His agent is digging his heels in as well, making demands, and it is very difficult to solve.

‘As for our friend Ben Haim, he just won’t budge. The deal he wants is not achievable. We have not got the means to do it.

‘There are players at this club who are sat there. They are not coming to me and writing it all off saying they will leave straight away.

‘We have to get them off the wage bill and I cannot say any of them are making it easy for me to get them to leave.’

Deferrals agreed by players have meant that, since May, there has been a weekly wage cap of less than £10,000.

This agreement is open-ended and any player leaving will receive the money owed as part of any compromise.

And Birch stressed the players will not lose out.

He added: ‘The deferrals will be paid back.

‘As football creditors, the players have to be paid in full, albeit spread over a period of time. That could be four years but they will get the money back.

‘They are keeping the club afloat at the minute with those deferrals.

‘But when I come to talk to them about their future contract or future entitlements they will have to compromise to help the club going forwards.’

Kanu’s agent – Samuel Okoronkwo – was unavailable for comment when contacted by The News yesterday.